Working for a small business offers employees certain intangibles, such as the family-like atmosphere that often comes with a small shop. It can be a different story, though, when it’s time to retire. Because few small businesses offer pensions, many employees face less-than-golden years when they stop working.

“Retirement insecurity,” the polite term for the prospect of poverty in old age, is an increasing likelihood for more than 80 percent of US workers in the bottom quarter of the...

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